SECURING THE SKIES

Junkers Ju87

Overview

The design originated in 1935 and its nickname 'Stuka' (derived from 'Sturzkampfflugzeug' - dive-bomber) became synonymous with the great successes of the German Blitzkrieg. The Junkers design won a dive-bomber competition in 1936 and the first operational aircraft joined the Luftwaffe a year later. They proved extremely successful in the Spanish Civil War as pin-point bombers. More success followed in the invasion of Poland where the aircraft's unique, angular appearance and dramatic tactics had a profound effect on even the most seasoned of troops. They would drop into a near-vertical dive over roads, railways, strongpoints and troop concentrations, doing as much damage to morale as material.

It was over Dunkirk that the Stuka's reputation first suffered seriously, and in the opening days of the Battle of Britain the losses increased. Faced with a determined and modern fighter defence, the Ju87 was helpless once separated from is fighter escorts and was easy prey for the Hurricanes and Spitfires. After a few weeks of serious losses, the type was largely withdrawn from operations with the exception of a few isolated raids during the Blitz.

Recognition

Long, thin fuselage with large, square fin and long, heavily-framed canopy prominent on top of fuselage. Straight wings featuring distinctive 'gull' wing and tall, fixed undercarriage.

Power and specifications
PowerplantOne 1,100 hp Junkers Jumo 211A-1 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled engine.
Span45ft 3┬╝in (13.80m)
Length36ft 1in (11.00m)
Max Speed232 mph (374km/h) at 13,500 ft (4,114m)
ArmamentTwo 7.9mm machine guns in wings, one rear-firing 7.9mm machine gun in cockpit.
BombloadOne 1,100lb (499kg) carried under fuselage plus four 110 lb (50kg) bombs under the wings.
AccommodationPilot and gunner.